“Who’s there?” She mustered up her courage and asked, taking a few steps back.
No one answered.
“Open the door. I want to leave.” She heard her voice shaking.
Still, no one answered.
She hesitated a moment. She grabbed the small wax rabbit containing the bloodwood sword in her purse with one hand and turned the door handle with the other. With the crisp sound of a spring, the door easily opened.
It was completely empty outside, with only the glow of flashing strobe lights from the dance floor shining into the narrow hallway. Accompanied by the seemingly distant sound of music, it had a bit of a desolate beauty.
Suddenly, a strangely shaped silhouette appeared in front of her, with hair flaring and a pale, twitching expression. Xiao Xia cried out in fright and almost dropped her purse.
“Move, granny.” The person shoved Xiao Xia aside and walked into the bathroom.
It turned out to be a little female delinquent around eighteen or nineteen years old. Her bizarre outfit and the constantly changing colored lights made her seem as frightening as a ghost, but she wasn’t truly one. However, she was really irritating. Not only was she impolite, she even called a beautiful older sister like herself a granny. According to this logic, wouldn’t someone of Gu Yu Fang’s age have a foot in the grave?
Xiao Xia relaxed. Perhaps the door had been jammed and her mind was just subconsciously influenced by the two women speaking nonsense. Wan Li often said this was her biggest mental weakness.
She was thinking this as she stepped out of the bathroom. She had just turned around when she felt a gust of cold wind blowing by her ear. She clearly heard that slow voice speaking from behind her: “There wasn’t anyone outside the door earlier.”
It wasn’t her imagination.
Xiao Xia’s scalp turned numb and she ran out of the hallway without thinking. She didn’t look back until she squeezed through the crowded dancefloor. She confirmed that everyone around was human. It hadn’t pursued her.
At this moment, she felt everyone around her quiet down, all turning to look in the same direction. Xiao Xia’s heart tensed as she assumed something abnormal had appeared. Then she realized someone wasn’t being eaten by a ghost. The reason was that someone had gotten up onto the stage.
It was a female singer around twenty-six or twenty-seven years old. She had an extremely tender and beautiful face. She wore a sexy red dress that revealed half her silky breasts. Her bearing attracted the attention of everyone at the scene.
Xiao Xia suddenly had the strange feeling she had seen her somewhere before, but couldn’t recall where it was. Right as she was racking her brains, the female singer started singing….
Love is just an irritating game, not precious at all. Men are also just playthings, nothing impressive really….
The singer seemed almost indifferent as she stood there and sang, without any signs of trying to please the crowd. The frivolous, sexy song contained two parts disdain, three parts mockery and five parts allure. However, she sang it with an essence and flavor that not even superstars could convey. It was like she was a rebellious goddess that held men in contempt. Xiao Xia was filled with praise, and the men at the scene were intoxicated. They completely didn’t mind the singer’s arrogant and even impatient attitude.
The song ended. Facing the waves of applause, the singer nodded slightly towards the crowd. When her dark, seemingly bottomless eyes landed on Xiao Xia, Xiao Xia suddenly recalled who she was.
She was the kind person who helped staunch her bleeding with a paper towel during the mugging.
Xiao Xia felt a wave of excitement at meeting someone familiar in this place. She waved her hand wanting to draw the singer’s attention, but the latter swept her gaze over the scene before turning and leaving.
“She only sings one song every day and leaves right after.” Someone spoke from behind Xiao Xia, startling her. Turning her head, she saw it was the pretty boy who was serving her earlier. “However, a bunch of the men come every day just for these few minutes.”
“She does sing really well.” Some people were born that way, enchanting others with a mysterious attraction, making them willingly fall under her spell.
“Many people want to make her an album and turn her into a star, but she isn’t willing.” The pretty boy’s tone was filled with worship. “She doesn’t bother with anyone, saying all men are contemptible creatures who only treasure what they can’t obtain.” His description didn’t seem to take into account that Xiao Xia was just a stranger, and that he himself was also a man.
“This means that it’s very hard to meet her?”
“That’s right.” The pretty boy nodded, surprised at the excitement in her eyes.
Xiao Xia read his thoughts from his gaze and hurriedly waved her hands, “That’s not what I meant. I….forget it. I’m leaving.”
“Big sis Wan, won’t you stay a little longer?” The pretty boy was a little reluctant to part with this delicate and gentle customer. “It’s not even ten yet.”
Xiao Xia shook her head and stuffed a bill into his hand as tip. In her heart she lamented how a good young man like him might get ruined like this, but there was nothing she could do. She could only leave by herself.
She knew there was definitely something up with this Woman Flower Entertainment City. It wasn’t just because she had encountered something foul. She had also felt a strange sensation of being swallowed up when entering this place, and leaving felt like having escaped. Although others might not have felt anything, she had always been extremely sensitive. What was frightening was that her intuition had always been proven correct.
She returned home in a daze, pondering over the happenings at Entertainment City. What she encountered in the bathroom made her heart palpitate so she checked the doors and windows before she went to bed. She also put the little wax bunny on the bedside table before turning off the lights and shrinking into the blankets.
Since she was on the second floor, the curtains were only half-closed. The overcast moonlight of early winter shone onto her bed, slowly putting her to sleep. She never noticed that a paper crane was stuck against the window, observing her every move. There was even one at the balcony and kitchen window.
Dong dong dong….
Three chimes of a clock suddenly rang out, piercing Xiao Xia’s slumber and startling her awake.
Where did that sound come from? It sounded like a clock but her watch wasn’t one that chimed. Even if it did chime, was it three in the morning? Was she dreaming?
Before her mind cleared, the piercing sound of a phone rang out urgently, making her swiftly sit up. She picked up the phone: “Hey, who is it? Do you know what time it is?” She asked angrily. “Why aren’t you saying anything?”
The phone was silent but Xiao Xia suddenly felt creeped out. She felt as if something had come through the phone line and was now nearby, watching her.
“Who on earth are you?” She mustered up her courage and asked.
The weather was cold to begin with in early November. At this moment, an even colder chill encroached from the ground and the walls, making Xiao Xia shiver uncontrollably.
“Just what do you want?” The silence on the line was testing the limits of her endurance.
“There’s someone outside.” The voice from Entertainment City’s bathroom slowly said. It was so close it seemed right by her ear. She even heard the faint sound of breathing.
Xiao Xia hung up in fright, but before she could recover, the pounding on the door reached her ears. She almost cried out in shock.
She subconsciously retreated back to her bed which still had some lingering warmth from her body heat. She hid inside the blankets as though to escape, but the knocking grew more and more urgent. Even when she covered her head, she could still clearly hear it in her ears, as though it was pounding on her heart, making her numb from fear.
She didn’t know if any of the neighbors could hear the noise in this quiet winter night. She only heard that after the knocking, a shrill voice asked mechanically: “Is someone inside? Is someone inside?”
Xiao Xia didn’t dare respond.
However, she heard the locked, reinforced door slowly creak open. Footsteps rang out slowly in the living room, accompanied by the sound of something fumbling around, as though looking for something. Then, it headed straight towards her bedroom.
Cold sweat soaked her pajamas. She didn’t dare make any large movements, and merely forced herself to stick her head out of the blankets. She stared at the flimsy door. The footsteps stopped by the door for a moment and the knocking started again.
“Is someone inside?” The shrill voice continued to ask while the heavy knocking continued, making the door tremble as though it would fall over at any moment.
In her terror, Xiao Xia suddenly recalled that the bedroom door wasn’t locked. Since the heavy front door had been easily opened, whatever was outside could come in at any moment. It was just being polite in giving her a heads up. Her hiding in bed made her a sitting duck.
She reached out with a trembling hand and fumbled around until she found the little wax bunny on her bedside table. She shrank back into the covers and crushed the sealing layer of wax. She gripped the same small and old wooden sword. She knew even Ruan Zhan wasn’t able to exhibit this sword’s full might, but it was a mystical object that warded off evil. As long as she wasn’t afraid, the wooden sword would exhibit strong destructive power against demons it encountered. This would keep her safe.
Don’t be scared, don’t be scared. She had seen ghosts several times before. What was there to be afraid of? She comforted herself this way, but what left her helpless was her timid nature that made her more frightened the more ghosts she encountered.
At this time, the sound of a door opening was heard, followed by footsteps.
Xiao Xia held her breath and prepared herself. She sensed something approach her bed and stand there for a while, as though locked in silent confrontation with her. Right as she was about to lose the remnants of her courage, a hand patted her blanket. She could feel the chill through the thick blanket as the shrill voice asked: “Is someone inside?”
Xiao Xia screamed and abruptly leapt up, the bloodwood sword also enlarging in her hand. However, she dropped it in her panic. The sword fell to the floor, giving off a beautiful red glow.
There was nothing in the room. Only a quiet and obscure atmosphere was left. Xiao Xia practically dived to the floor, grabbing the bloodwood sword and swinging it around wildly. However, only the sound of her panting could be heard.
She slowly walked to the door and looked out at the pitch black living room. She flicked on the light switch but nothing happened. The front door was wide open and the cold wind blew directly inside. A white piece of paper fluttered in the wind, spinning in circles in front of her sofa. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to walk over. She raised the sword and slashed.
Before the sword could reach it, the piece of paper was weirdly swept out with the wind and vanished. At the same time, Xiao Xia felt a gust of cold wind, as though something invisible had walked past her.
She was terrified, whirling back to her bedroom and swinging the sword in the air at the concealed danger. She flailed around from the innermost part of her room all the way to the front doors in the living room. After feeling the abnormal air disperse, she closed the door firmly before running back. She sat on her bed, the bloodwood sword still tightly gripped in her hand.
“Ruan Zhan.” She softly called his name, her body trembling. She felt the loneliness and helplessness well up in her heart like a wave.
Everything would be fine if he was here. If he was here, she wouldn’t be afraid of anything.
She never realized how much she needed him. Only when he suddenly left did she deeply feel it. It was as though her mind suddenly cleared. It turned out she had become dependent upon him like it was second nature.
But where was he now? Was he still going to return?